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AMERICAN HISTORY

5th President: James Monroe
Years in Office: 1817 -- 1825  ( 8 yrs )
Party:  Democratic - Republican
Vice President:  Daniel D. Thompkins
First Lady: Elizabeth Kortright Monroe
Year Born:  1758
Year Died:  1831  ( 73 yrs old )

Known above all as the creator of the doctrine that bears his name, James Monroe fought for his country not only as a statesman but as a soldier.  At the age of 16,  he enrolled in the College of William and Mary and joined the student military company.  He marched off to fight in the American Revolution and was wounded in battle at Trenton.  He was promoted to captain by General George Washington and later became his aide.

    In 1779,  Monroe began to study law under Thomas Jefferson, then governor of Virginia.  At the Virginia Convention of 1788,  he challenged the ratification of the Constitution because, he argued, it gave too much power to the executive branch.  In 1790, newly elected to the U.S. Senate, he disputed the Federalist platform and its plans for the Bank of the United States.

    His fellow Virginians elected him governor in 1799, and in 1803 President Thomas Jefferson named him envoy to France, where he would prove indispensable in the negotiations that led to the Louisiana Purchase.

    Monroe eventually became secretary of state, secretary of war and then won the presidency in 1816.  His best - known accomplishment remains the Monroe Doctrine, which declared off limits the American continent to European colonization.